Rutgers beat another inferior team by 35+ points. Thoughts:
Rutgers is Going to be Even Better this Year: Yes, it’s only been two games, and yes they were against teams that are ranked in the 300s in the Kenpom but think about last season. Through two games last year, Rutgers had barely survived against Lehigh, winning 73-70 in OT and scored just 48 points in a win against Merrimack. Rutgers didn’t take care of the bad teams they played against last year, but this year Rutgers is doing it with ease. Back-to-back blowouts are an encouraging sign for this season.
Balanced Offensive Attack: The Scarlet Knights earned points from 10 players tonight including four guys who scored in double figures. Derek Simpson added 11 of his own off the bench on 5/10 shooting and was aggressive on offense. He could be a huge factor this season despite being only a freshman. Omoruyi, Spencer, and Hyatt all scored 17+ points as well. Coming off the loss of superstars Ron Harper Jr. and Geo Baker, it’s exciting to see guys step up and replace some of that production.
Once Again, Cam Spencer was Great: The transfer scored 18 points, dished out 6 assists, grabbed 7 boards, and added 3 steals while not turning the ball over tonight. The Sacred Heart defense had no answer for the point guard. He was a step ahead all night and hasn’t missed a beat since transferring to Rutgers. Many questioned who would be the guy who can take a shot with the game on the line, now that Geo and Ron can’t. My bet? Cam Spencer will have the ball in his hands at the end of games.
Defense, Defense, Defense: Steve Pikiell’s defense prevailed once again. Rutgers had 17 steals and forced 25 Sacred Heart turnovers. This is exactly what Pikiell—and everybody—wanted to see. This defense then translated into great offense as RU scored 29 points off turnovers. Through two games Pike’s team is giving up just 42.5 points per game. I say, bring me all the dominant defensive performances I can get.
The Forwards were Dominant: Cliff Omoruyi and Aundre Hyatt were unbelievable tonight. Cliff went for 17 and 7 rebounds, and Hyatt had a game-high 19 points in just 20 minutes. Both players took advantage of an undersized Sacred Heart team whose biggest player was just 6’8. Early in the game, they doubled Omoruyi every time he touched the ball, but Cliff fought through and was dominated by the second half. Defenses are gonna key on Cliff and his ability to fight through some adversity is huge for this team. Additionally, Hyatt has had a great start to his season and is making a serious case to be in the starting lineup when Caleb McConnell is back. After a somewhat disappointing campaign last year, the hope is for Hyatt to continue this solid start to the season and be a serious contributor for Rutgers.
Rutgers shot 19-22 from the line, including the starters going 17-17! This is huge for a team that generally has not been good in this area.
Mulcahy’s shot just wasn’t there tonight, but he still found a way to contribute. The junior had just 4 points but added 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. He continues to do the little things like he has his whole career.
The young guys are going to be so good. Woolfolk and Simpson look like they’ll make an impact on the team this year despite Rutgers having so many returning guys.